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Is COVID-19 just another flu?

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With the first case of COVID-19 now confirmed in Ireland, many people are wondering if it's all just a case of much ado about nothing. Surely it can't be as serious as the media are portraying it to be,... or can it?

To answer this question, we need to take a look at the numbers we know so far about COVID-19 to see how it compares to seasonal influenza.

Free GP Care Cheaper Than Previously Thought

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Former Health Minister Leo Varadkar said free GP care would overwhelm the system, but new figures from ESRI suggest otherwise.

According to the Economic and Social Research Institute the number of doctor visits in a free system would rise by 3.5%, or 700,000 trips annually.

They explain this by the fact that non-medical card patients tend to be healthier and that the time required to see a GP would deter excessive use of the system.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Autism Prevalence Up 78% in the US

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A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows a 78% rise in the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) in United States since 2002 and a 23% increase since the last report in 2009.

The report's data show that in 2008, 1 in 88 children aged 8 years — 1 in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls — had an ASD diagnosis by age 8, a significant jump from the current estimate of 1 in 110.

Some Patients Received Incorrect Dose of Flu Vaccine from Their Pharmacist

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Due to incorrect information being given to a number of pharmacists during their flu vaccination training programme, some patients have received only half the recommended dose (paediatric dose) of the flu vaccine.

These patients will be contacted by their pharmacist in the coming days to return for a revaccination. The vast majority of patients however have received the correct dose.

Majority in Favour of Universal Healthcare

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The 2011 Pfizer Health Index report, which was launched on the 24th October 2011, revealed that 1 in 5 Irish adults would place free universal access to healthcare, as one of their top three healthcare priorities, with 2 out of 3 being broadly in favour even if it would increase income tax rates by an average of 1%.

Vitamin E May Raise Prostate Cancer Risk

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According to the findings of the SELECT trial (The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial) published in the 12th October 2011 issue of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), vitamin E supplementation of 400 IU per day may carry a 17% increased risk for prostate cancer.